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Simpson Trial - Text - Day 157 - Part 5

Aired at 9/27/95 4:53:00 PM ET


Abstract : Calling the objection pre-mature, Judge Ito does not penalize the defense for possible indiscretions, nor does he rule for Marcia Clark on any of her motions. Johnnie Cochran begins his closing argument.
Full Text:

Judge LANCE ITO, Los Angeles Superior Court: All right. Mr. Blasier, you're handling this matter?

ROBERT BLASIER, Simpson Attorney: I am, Your Honor. Let me-

Judge LANCE ITO: All right. Good afternoon.

ROBERT BLASIER: Good afternoon. With respect to the, I guess it's a prophylactic instructin that they want. In case we do something wrong, then this is what our punishment's going to be. I've never heard of anything like that. We know what the rules are. We know what we can say and what we can't say and I'm sure that if we say something we're not supposed to say they'll jump up and you'll holler at us, and whatever will happen will happen. I think it's absolutely ludicrous for us to sit here and debate whether we might do something wrong and if we do what should happen about it. So I think that's just a foolish motion, quite frankly.

As to the charts, the burden of proof charts, I've probably used that chart in every trial I've done in the last five years. It's never been excluded. I've never been told by a court that I can't tell the jury what I think reasonable doubt is. They were allowed to tell the jury what they think reasonable doubt is. That's part of argument. That's what argument is for. The court reads the instruction, and those are the words of the instruction. We're entitled to say, this is how we think you should interpret that. There's nothing on there about percentages. I guess they went so far as to count up the little boxes and add them all up together and divide up and say that we were going to make some argument that 93 percent, or seven percent, I guess, is reasonable doubt. That's foolish. We're not going to offer any kind of a statement like that.

The Freeman case talks about the court's instruction. The last five years I've also asked the court to give my own instructions on reasonable doubt and you never get those. You always give 2.90, but I've never been precluded from saying, this is what we think reasonable doubt is. They're going to have another shot at the jury. They can up and say, that's a lot of hooey and you shouldn't look at it that way, you should look at it this way. So I would- I think there's nothing wrong with that chart.

As to the video clips, if they want us to show the whole thing, we'll be happy to, have a glove demo.

Judge LANCE ITO: All right. When we're talking about the glove demo, would both sides wants to use that?

MARCIA CLARK, Prosecutor: Well, no, Your Honor. It's not a matter that we want to use it, it's a matter that I don't think it should be allowed for either side. And what I'm saying is that, you know, they have some stills that they want to show which are, of course, you know, just the parts that are most favorable to them, but I think that it would be inappropriate during this argument. We could have used it in our opening argument. That was going to be- that was the plan that we had until it was ruled that we couldn't. But the problem with the glove demonstration was that it's an active, mobile thing and to take still shots from that it's very misleading to the jury and it has penalized the People because we couldn't- we thought we couldn't use it.

Judge LANCE ITO: Well, my recollection is that the prosecution argued against the use of videotape because it's not the official record.

MARCIA CLARK: That's right. That's right. And our position hasn't changed, Your Honor. I think the Court's ruling was also that we could only- at the point that the Court was saying we could use videotape, the Court was saying that it can only be a tape of the witness in the witness- in the blue chair, and this doesn't qualify.

ROBERT BLASIER: Well, this isn't- I'm sorry, this is not a tape of testimony, this is a picture of the demonstrative demonstration that was done and we only had two stills, by the way.

Judge LANCE ITO: When do you anticipate getting to that?

ROBERT BLASIER: May I have a minute? Hour and a half.

Judge LANCE ITO: All right. Let me see it. Let me see the excerpt that you propose to use. Or, the stills - I'm sorry - that you purpose to use.

ROBERT BLASIER: The stills?

Judge LANCE ITO: Yes.

ROBERT BLASIER: That's it.

JIM MORET, Anchor: Robert Blasier of the defense is reviewing various exhibits that the defense wsants to use in its final arguments. Marcia Clark has made various objections, and the judge is now asking to view certain still photographs that the defense hopes to introduce in its final arguments.

Judge LANCE ITO: All right.

ROBERT BLASIER: Sumitted.

Judge LANCE ITO: All right, submitted.

MARCIA CLARK: These are pictures of both gloves? The only point I wanted to add, Your Honor, other than the fact that we would have used this ourselves in opening argument is that if these photographs are misleading because they only show a portion of it, but in order to show all- I mean, even the clip should be shown or none of it should be shown, and I think that none of it should be shown. Counsel can argue it as we argued it, but I don't think this is appropriate, and certainly not the stills that they're using.

Judge LANCE ITO: All right. Thank you, Counsel.

All right. As far as the prosecution motion for pre-emptive instruction, admonition, or warning to the defense regarding Detective Fuhrman and regarding the McKinny tapes, the Court finds that to be premature. I trust that Counsel know what the law is regarding appropriate argument by counsel. The Evidence Code is clear that counsel may not argue or mention the invocation, and I'm sure defense counsel know that the sanction will be swift and severe, and I don't think it's necessary for the Court to take any action at this time.

As far as the chart regarding burden of proof, reasonable doubt, that is a very familiar chart to the Court. I've seen it before. I'm sure I'll see it again. The objection to that is overruled. The objection to the clips of the glove demo is sustained. It is not part of the official record.

All right. Anything else? Are we ready? All right, deputy Turner, let's have the jurors, please.

JIM MORET: We're waiting for the jurors to enter the courtroom. Let's check in with CNN's Art Harris, who spoke with Deputy District Attorney Christopher Darden shortly after the prosecution finished its closing arguments. Art joins us now from the Criminal Courts Building in downtown Los Angeles.

Art, what did Christopher Darden tell you?

ART HARRIS, Correspondent: Well, Jim, he was exhasted, tired by relived after closing arguments. Spoke to him about an hour ago. And he said that his whole goal was to put the defense on the defensive, that's a quote, and he tried to do that by putting guideposts for the jury that he hoped they would watch for as Johnnie Cochran gets up very soon now and lays out what he called would be smokescreen. Jim?

JIM MORET: Art, I was inside the courtroom today and I noticed that the jurors appeared dispassionate but they were locked, their gazes werfe locked on Christopher Darden. Did he have a sense, did he relay to you a sense that the jurors were mindful of all that he was saying?

ART HARRIS: I think he felt they were paying attention. He felt very good about things. You know, he's come under a lot of criticism for not perhaps being the most articulate and organized in his thoughts. And I think he felt today he was very passionate and he laid his case very well. He felt good about it. Jim.

JIM MORET: Art, the prosecution's intial portion for the closing arugmetns took just under nine hours, and Marcia Clark took the bulk of that beinning, of course, yesterday. You spoke with Marcia Clark as well, didn't you?

ART HARRIS: I spoke with her this morning, and she said that what her goal was was to lay out the building blocks without rhetoric. She thinks that she would like the jury to, quote, `Stand back and think calmly and rationally about what the prosecution calls a mountain of evidnece against O.J. Simpson.' She said, quote, `For me, closing arguments are about laying out facts, that too much emotion can get in the way.' She said that her idea and her goal was to weave the motive, opportunity, and the timeline and the physical evidence that pointed to O.J. Simpson. And she said, quote, `There's plenty of time to get emotional,' and she promised a very passionate finale. Jim?

JIM MORET: Thank you. That's CNN's Art Harris at the Criminal Courts Building. Let's take you now back into the courtroom. The jurors are once again seated. We're anticipating the defense portion of the final arguments to begin momentarily. Oh, we can see a sidebar actally, so let's check in with our CNN's analysts. Roger Cossack and Greta Van Susteren, joining us from our Washington bureau. Very quickly, Roger, to you, do you get a sense that Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden divvied up the responsibilities so that one handled logic, the other passion?

ROGER COSSACK, Criminal Defense Attorney: I think so, and I think that they both did a good job of it, Jim.

Judge LANCE ITO: All right. And the record should reflect that we've be rejoined by all the members of our jury panel. Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.

JURORS: Good afternoon.

Judge LANCE ITO: And as I mentioned to you, we had some preliminary matters we had to take up out of your presence. We're now ready to proceed with the defense argument. Mr. Cochran, you may proceed.

JOHNNIE COCHRAN, Simpson Attorney: Thank you very kindly, Your Honor. Judge Ito, my colleagues on the defense, my colleagues on the prosecution, the Goldman family, the Brown family, and to the Simpson family, good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.

JURORS: Good afternoon.

JOHNNIE COCHRAN: The defendant, Mr. Orenthal James Simpson, is now afforded an opportunity to argue the case, if you will, but I'm not going to argue with you, ladies and gentlemen. What I'm going to do is to try and discuss the reasonable inferences which I feel can be drawn from this evidence. At the outset, let me join with the others in thanking you for the service that you have rendered. You are truly a marvelous jury, the longest-serving jury in Los Angeles County and perhaps the most patient and healthy jury we've ever seen. I hope that your health and your good health continues.

We met approximately one year and one day ago, September 26th, 1994. I guess we've been together longer than some relationships, as it were. But we've had a unique relationship in this matter, in that you've been the judges of the facts. We have been advocates on both sides. The judge has been the judge of the law. We all understand our various roles in this endeavor that I'm going to call a journey toward justice. That's what we're going to be talking about this afternoon as I seek to address you.

The final test of your service as jurors will not lie in the fact that you've stayed here more than a year. It will lie in the quality of the verdict that you render and whether or not that verdict bespeaks justice as a move towards justice. Now you recall, during a process called voir dire examination, each of you were thoroughly questioned by the lawyers. You probably thought, gee, I wish they'd leave me alone. But you understood, I'm sure, that this is very serious business.

Our client, Mr. Orenthal James Simpson, is on trial for his life. And so we had to be very, very careful, both sides, in trying to get people who could be fair to both sides. You will recall those questions that you keep an open mind, which I hope you still have even to this day, that you wouldn't be swayed by sympathy for or passion against either side in this case, that you would give both sides of this lawsuit the benefit of your individual opinion. No one, no one, can tell you what the facts are. That's going to be your job to determine. It's not a question of age or experience. And we talked about that. This is one of those jobs where you kind of learn on the job.

And so it's important that you fully understand that, and that's why voir dire was so very important as we asked you all of those questions before you were sequestered and before you were actually picked. Now, each of you filled out the questionnaire and you answered the questions honestly, I'm sure. You know, Cicero said a long ago that he who violates his oath profanes the divinity of faith itself. And, of course, both sides in this lawsuit have faith that you will live up to your promises, and I'm sure you'll do that.

You know, Abraham Lincoln said that jury service is the highest act of citizenship. So if it's any consolation to you, you've been involved in that very highest act of citizenship. And so, again, we applaud you and we thank you. Let's move toward justice. One other entity or group of ladies, there are two ladies that I should thank, are our marvelous court reporters. They have been patient with us, they've been here from the very beginning, we very much appreciate them in their services, and I especially appreciate them because sometimes I speak rather rapidly and they have tough time keeping up with me. So I trust that today, if I started to speak too fast in my zeal, Ms. Markson [sp] and Chris will bring that to my attention, I'm sure they will.

Now, in the course of this process, what we are discussing the reasonable inferences of the evidence, I ask you to remember that we're all advocates, we're all officers of this court. I will recall the evidence and speak about the evidence. Should I misstate that evidence, please don't hold that against Mr. Simpson. I will never intentionally do that. In fact, I think you'll find that during my presentation, unlike my learned colleagues on the other side, I'm going to read you testimony, what the witnesses actually said, so there'll be no misunderstanding about what was said about certain key things.

But remember that we're all advocates, and I think it was Ms. Clark who said, saying it's so doesn't make it so. I think that applies very much to their arguments. Ultimately, it's what you determine to be the facts. That's what's going to be important, and all of us will live with that. You are empowered to do justice. You are empowered to insure that this great system of ours works. Listen for a moment, will you please, one of my favorite people in history is the great Frederick Douglass. He said shortly after the slaves were free, quote, `In a composite nation like ours, as before the law there should be no rich, no poor, no high, no low, no white, no black, but common country, common citizenship, equal rights, and a common destiny.' This marvelous statement was made more than 100 years ago. It's an ideal worth striving for and one that we still strive for. We haven't reached this goal yet, but certainly in this great country of ours we're trying. With a jury such as this, we hope we can do that in this particular case.

Now, in this case, you are aware that we represent Mr. Orenthal James Simpson. The prosecution never calls him Mr. Orenthal James Simpson, they call him defendant. I want to tell you right at the outset that Orenthal James Simpson, like all defendants, is presumed to be innocent. He's entitled to the same dignity and respect as all the rest of us. As he sits over there now, he's cloaked in a presumption of innocence. You will determine the facts of whether or not he's set free to walk out those doors or whether he spends the rest of his life in prison. But he's Orenthal James Simpson, he's not just the defendant. And we on the defense are proud, consider it a privilege to have been part of representing him in this exercise and this journey toward justice. Make no mistake about it.

Finally, I apologize to you for the length that this journey has taken. But you know when you're seeking justice there are no shortcuts. If you were to trade places with either side you'd want someone who'd fight hard for you and vigorously, especially if it was a person who had maintained their innocence from the very beginning of the proceedings. Some of you in voir dire talked about that, that you'd been involved in other cases where you felt the lawyers didn't stand. Well, I certainly hope that in this case on both sides you felt that lawyers did their best to represent their respective position, and we will continue, I'm sure, to do that so that, although I apologize for the length of the trial, I hope and I trust that you will understand that in a journey toward justice there is no shortcut.

Finally, with regard to your responsibilities, we asked you at the very beginning to don't compromise. This is not a case for the timid or the weak of heart. This is not a case for the naive. This is a case for courageous citizens who believe in the Constitution. And while I'm talking about the Constitution, think with me for a moment how many times you heard my learned adversaries say, the defense didn't prove, the defense didn't do this, the defense didn't that. Remember, back in voir dire? What did the judge tell us? Judge Ito said the defense could sit here and do absolutely nothing. One of you is from Missouri and he reminded you who's from Missouri here? Say to the prosecution, you show us. Now, we didn't do that. But we don't have an obligation, as you'll see.

You've heard from the jury instructions and at the end I will show you some others. We don't have to do anything. We don't have to prove anything. This is the prosecution's burden, and we can't let them turn the Constitution on its head. We can't let them get away from their burden. It's my job, one of my jobs, is to remind you of that and to remind them of that, that that's their burden. They must prove Mr. Simpson guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and to a moral certainty, and we will talk about what a reasonable doubt means.

And so now as we have this opportunity to analyze the facts of the case, I agree with one thing that Mr. Darden said, to this task I ask you to bring your common sense. Collectively, the 14 of you have more than 500 years of experience. I know you're all young but you multiply that 14, you won't hold that against me, I don't think. Five hundred years of experience. You didn't leave your common sense out in that hallway when you came in here, and we're going to ask you to apply it to the facts of this case.

Continue to Part 4



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